The results from the People Living with HIV Stigma Index study, “HIV-related Stigma: Late Testing, Late treatment,” confirm an alarming number of people living with HIV seek testing and access care late. These are the results from interviews with more than 2,500 people living with HIV in Estonia, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine, and Turkey. These findings were presented on May 25, 2011 at the European conference HIV in European Region: Unity and Diversity in Tallinn, Estonia.
The work was carried out by teams and partnerships lead by national organizations of people living with HIV in the five countries, with technical support provided by the Global Network of People Living with HIV.
The cross country report used evidence from the PLHIV Stigma Index about the current health of the respondents and the circumstances under which they tested for HIV, to answer the following questions:
•Did respondents who waited longer to test or to access care report overall worse health than those who tested or accessed care earlier?
•Did respondents who tested voluntarily report earlier uptake of medical care?
•Did respondents who received pre and post test counselling report earlier uptake of medical care?
Other results show:
•High fears of losing employment and concerns about their relations, such as being shunned by family or friends, prior to testing for HIV;
•As main factors in discouraging or preventing people from accessing care after their HIV diagnosis, respondents expressed concerns about mistreatment and lack of confidentiality by healthcare workers;
•Respondents also felt “not […] ready to deal with her or his HIV infection.”
The implementation and launch of the PLHIV Stigma Index in the five countries, was supported by HIV in Europe, UKaid from the Department for International Development (DFID) (Moldova) and UNAIDS.
As well as the cross country report presentations were made at the conference as part of a session on sexual and reproductive health rights (parallel session XII) by the Estonian Network of People Living with HIV and the All Ukranian Network of people Living with HIV/AIDS. These highlighted aspects of the PLHIV Stigma Index results in these two countries.
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